The chairman of Saatchi & Saatchi and his fashion designer wife have raised more than £5,000 to get their Instagram-star dog treated by a celebrity vet, after asking followers for donations on a crowdfunding website.

The couple’s Welsh terrier, Edward Lear, has more than 10,000 followers on the social media site, and has been pictured in designer dogwear and at five-star hotels.

Richard Huntington lives with his wife, Annabel Bird, in a house worth more than £1m, and is thought to earn a six-figure salary, but the couple started a crowdfunding page asking for £7,500 for the four-year-old dog after it was diagnosed with elbow dysplasia, torn cruciate ligaments and arthritis.

Asked about the crowdfunding exercise by Private Eye, which picked up the story, Huntington said his wife had been “inundated” with public support. Their pet has been successfully treated by TV’s “supervet” Noel Fitzpatrick after 219 people donated over 22 days. Huntingdon told the magazine: “The response was rather humbling to say the least.”

Bird, who runs the Bleak House lifestyle company and is Edward Lear’s self-described “dog-mum”, explained that the couple’s insurance had a limit of £4,000, adding: “We are left with bills of £7,500 and are asking for help to pay them.”

On the GoFundMe page she wrote: “All I want is for my funny little dog to be able to run around again like the crazy terrier he is and climb mountains in the Lake District and Snowdonia like he used to and enjoy his life to the fullest.

“He hasn’t walked for more than 10 minutes in four months and I feel so bad for him. He’s missed out on so much fun and excitement.”

Responding to criticism after the story emerged, she wrote an update on the site: “Thank you again to everyone who contributed to Edward’s GoFundMe. Unfortunately, his page has received some negative press because of who my husband Richard works for. As you know, this page was set up for our friends and family and those of mine and Edward’s Instagram followers who kindly asked to donate money to help with his recovery.

“This is not uncommon in the dog community on Instagram which is a wholly supportive and wonderful place to hang out. Anyone who follows Edward and/or me on Instagram knows something of our lives and I have never made a secret of the fact that Richard has a high-profile career (he is usually tagged when he appears in Edward’s feed).”

Bird said anyone who wanted to donate funds given towards the dog’s operation to charity instead could contact her. “Our only concern has been for Edward and his comfort and wellbeing. But if anyone feels that they would like to cancel their donation, or have it donated to a charity instead, then of course we totally understand,” she wrote.

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